Acer Stream review: White water rafting
Multimedia: power and eye-candy
Before we enter the gallery, let's take a look at Acer's Media Server app first. With its help you can define which type of multimedia (video, photo, and music) will be shared when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
The gallery automatically locates the images and videos, no matter where they are stored. Images and videos located in different folders appear in different sub-galleries that automatically get the name of the folder, which is very convenient - just like a file manager.
Right next to the name is the number of items stored in that folder. Each sub-gallery has a thumbnail, which displays either the latest image (if the folder contains less than four images) or four thumbs if there are at least four files in this folder. There is no way to change these viewing options.
From the main Gallery a dedicated camera button allows you to start recording videos or capture images.
There is the option to mark multiple images for mass delete but you can't copy or cut more than one file at a time. Scrolling thumbs of images up and down is very smooth and quick. Caching images may take quite a while when you open the gallery for the first time, but once that's done they load almost instantaneously' even if a folder contains thousands of them.
To zoom in and out you can either use the two dedicated buttons in the top right corner or the well-known pinch gesture.
Two video players and above average codec support
As you already know, the Acer Stream has a microHDMI port as well as a compatible cable supplied in the retail box. The HDMI output is only activated when you view photos or videos in the preinstalled Nemo multimedia player.
When you open supported content, a pop-up appears prompting you to switch to the external screen. And there you are. By the way, keep in mind that the phone’s own display automatically goes blank once you switch to external screen which is kind of confusing but nothing you can’t get used to. The only controls available in this mode are the hardware multimedia keys below the screen.
The Stream features two players you could use to watch videos - the nemoPlayer and the stock Android player accessible through the gallery.
If you go for the second option, you’ll face an app with a very simple interface - videos are played in landscape mode. We couldn’t get any of the DivX videos to run 720p XviD had no problem.
The nemoPlayer is meant for video, music and images and boasts a cooler interface. You can access the nemoPlayer from the menu or just use the dedicated nemoPlayer widget. Strangely, the so-called Media panel starts the nemoPlayer as well, so it's just another option to get to your videos, songs or images.
The Music player has been slightly redone. The four large buttons are now gone. They have been replaced by four tabs which do the same thing as those buttons. They organize your music collection by artist, album, song or displaying the playlists you've created.
The Acer Stream features the Dolby Mobile technology which replaces the missing equalizer settings. The effect can only be heard in headphones, of course.
The music player has the nice feature to quickly look up a song in YouTube or run a Google search by holding down a finger on a song. What's even better, the YouTube search results are loaded straight into the YouTube client.
Besides gradual typing for searching a specific song, there is an alphabet scroll that appears on the right side of the track list.
There are still some shortcomings of the music player that need addressing though (for example, there are still no alternative visualizations).
We won't be publishing audio quality analysis for the Acer Stream just yet since the marketing sample we have is incapable of playing back stereo sound properly. We're sure though that Acer will fix that in the retail version and we'll try to update this part of the review if and when we get a retail testing unit.
FM Radio with RDS
The Acer Stream has an FM radio with RDS too. The interface is simple – there’s a tuning dial and you can save as many stations as you wish as favorites. You can also record radio broadcasts or listen to the radio on the loudspeaker (the headset is still needed, though).